New regulations will see safety technologies that reduce human error become mandatory in all European vehicles by 2022.
The EU institutions reached a provisional political agreement on the revised General Safety Regulation to reduce the risk for passengers and people who ride and walk.
In recent years, the EU has introduced a range of similar mandatory safety measures, which contributed to an estimated reduction of 50,000 fatal traffic casualties per year.
These measures include electronic stability control systems on all vehicles, as well as advanced emergency braking systems and lane departure warning systems on trucks and buses.
In May last year, the Commission proposed to make certain vehicle safety measures mandatory including systems that reduce dangerous blind spots on trucks and buses as well as technology that warns of driver distraction or drowsiness.
The new mandatory safety features include (see the full list here):
- For cars, vans, trucks and buses: warning of driver drowsiness and distraction (e.g. smartphone use while driving), intelligent speed assistance, reversing safety with camera or sensors, and data recorder in case of an accident (‘black box').
- For cars and vans: lane-keeping assistance, advanced emergency braking, and crash-test improved safety belts.
- For trucks and buses: specific requirements to improve the direct vision of bus and truck drivers and to remove blind spots, and systems at the front and side of the vehicle to detect and warn of vulnerable road users, especially when making turns.
The Commission expects that the proposed measures will help save over 25,000 lives and avoid at least 140,000 serious injuries by 2038.
The current agreement by the European Parliament, Council and Commission is now subject to formal approval by the European Parliament and Council.
With more than 90 per cent of crashes on our roads caused by human error, making advanced safety features mandatory will help reduce the number of fatalities and serious injuries as well as paving the way towards connect and automated mobility.
European car manufacturers are also likely to gain a competitive edge in the industry with the demand for these features growing rapidly.
Commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska, responsible for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, said: "Every year, 25,000 people lose their lives on our roads. The vast majority of these accidents are caused by human error. We can and must act to change this.
With the new advanced safety features that will become mandatory, we can have the same kind of impact as when the safety belts were first introduced. Many of the new features already exist, in particular in high–end vehicles. Now we raise the safety level across the board, and pave the way for connected and automated mobility of the future."
Australia lagging behind
While governments around the world have moved to rapidly mandate additional truck safety to protect bike riders, our national leaders have turned a blind eye.
Bicycle Network has consistently called on the Commonwealth Government for compulsory and mandated truck safety measures as well as urgent action on distracted driving.
See our most recent Federal Budget submission for more information.
Through our Swapping Seats initiative in conjunction with Rail Projects Victoria, we’re also actively addressing the risk posed by heavy vehicles.
National safety standards for heavy vehicles
Bicycle Network strongly believes that we need to actively pursue technologies to improve the safety of heavy vehicles on our roads.
Bicycle Network is calling on the federal government to require that all heavy vehicles be fitted with the following:
- Class V mirrors, and reversing and blind spot cameras, giving the driver a better view of road users around their vehicles
- Side underrun protection to protect bike riders from being dragged under the wheels in the event of a collision
- Audible left turn warning and reverse squawker alert systems to communicate heavy vehicle movements to all road users
- Hydraulic payload monitoring system to determine and notify drivers of real-time truck weight
An obstacle to implementing new national standards for heavy vehicles are small owner-operators who make up a significant portion of the industry. Sourcing additional funds to upgrade their heavy vehicle fleets poses a considerable barrier.
Bicycle Network is recommending that the federal government offer rebates to owner-operators of heavy vehicles to help subsidise the cost of safety upgrades that are necessary to significantly reduce the risk that trucks pose to vulnerable road users.
Help pressure the federal government to rapidly reduce the risk that heavy vehicles pose to people who ride